Above, Annie Lerew teaching math to 7th graders
Below, Kameera learning in class.
7th Grade Spotlight: How Returning to In-Person Learning is Making a Difference
We’re back! On February 3rd, our students returned for a hybrid in-person schedule, which enables every child to be on campus every day for a period of time. We opened this fall with 42 days of hybrid learning, but voluntarily moved to fully remote the week before Thanksgiving to ensure the health and safety of our school community against a surge of COVID-19 cases.

“I’m excited to learn at school instead of being at home,” 7th grader Kameera enthuses. Her classmate Saani says, “I’m excited for everything!” Math teacher Annie Lerew echos their feelings.“Being back in person is refreshing for both teachers and students," she says. "Online teaching worked for 10 weeks, but now I am introducing the concept of slope in algebra. That would be difficult to do virtually — not impossible — but very difficult.”

Science teacher Nick Gurol observes that teaching in person enables him to “track body language and see if the students are on task.” He has reset the bar to a higher level to motivate and challenge his students. 7th graders will tackle the chemistry of ecosystems. Mr. Gurol also is helping students build successful habits for studying and test taking. He explains, “I am not a big fan of tests, but it is important that they learn these skills for high school.”

In English language arts class, Sarah Carroll is teaching about World War II. 7th graders are reading books that will help them answer the question: “How did World War II affect individuals?” They will learn about the Japanese American experience in Farewell to Manzar. They will read Code Talkers to discover how Native Americans used their tribal language to send coded messages across battlefields. Ms. Carroll especially looks forward to “discussing the decision making of historical actors and debating our ethical and moral opinions on varied topics.”

Join us for
on Tuesday, March 16th, 2021 at 6:30pm
You won't want to miss this engaging night of conversation, celebration, and special recognition of our church partners. This free virtual event is open to all.
Please register to receive your link to this joy-filled event!
*Perhaps you heard Bishop Curry's stirring sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Or saw him being interviewed on Good Morning America. Or read his latest book. Bishop Curry’s life and message have made him one of the most beloved spiritual leaders of our time.

Greetings from Our College Students
In a new video, St. James graduates now in college share their enthusiasm and ambitions. View the video on our website's Graduate Support page!
4th graders share "I am" affirmations prompted by Mr. Williams
in his keynote.
Virtual Service, Lasting Inspiration on MLK Day
St. James students and staff excitedly gathered for the school’s very first virtual day of service on January 18th. The day began with morning prayer and a beautiful performance of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s favorite hymn, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” by St. James community members.

Our Servant Year members — Angel Nalubega, Madeline Harris, Emily Jones, and Keriann DeLine — read “Litany in Remembrance of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” which included the passage: "He taught us that a heart full of grace and love is just as important as an education. May we have the courage of Dr. King as we continue to stand up for justice, reconciliation and truth, despite challenge and controversy."
Motivational speaker Maurice Williams (right) gave a rousing keynote address about being your best self. He stressed the importance of following Dr. King’s lead in surrounding yourself with good people and believing that “with hard work and great character, anything is possible!”
5th graders Simone and DeSean found Mr. Williams to be very engaging and inspirational. Simone liked that "he had great stories" about his life. DeSean said the speech "gave me the courage to do the right thing and reach for my dreams."

Next up were community circle discussions in each grade. In all circles, students answered the question, “What values do you want to guide you as you try to work out conflict?" The answers were patience, respect, and understanding. In the 6th grade circle, students also discussed how Mr. Williams’ stories about forgiveness helped them understand more options for resolving issues in ways that would make Dr. King proud.

All students and staff then participated in reflecting on the essential workers in their lives and writing heartfelt thank-you cards to them. Lastly, each person illustrated a “Community Square,” all of which will be combined into one quilt to be displayed on Clearfield Street. The theme for the quilt is these immortal words from Dr. King: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Laila (4th grade) dedicated her desk to Vice President Kamala Harris.
Black History Month at St. James
Celebrating Black History Month virtually required some changes, but new ideas arose along with more opportunities for our whole school community to participate in celebrating Black history, not just in February but year round. 

  • Our 10th Annual Career Day on February 9th was a family affair. Of our 22 speakers, three are Board members, one is a staff member, one is an aunt of St. James students, and one is an aunt of a staff member. 
  • Every student was invited to dedicate his or her desk space or laptop to a notable figure in Black history.
  • Students in 7th and 8th grade are working on Black History Month themed t-shirt designs as a part of a graded art class project. The school will vote to select the best design and the winning image will be printed on t-shirts that students can wear on gym days. 
  • Our Social Studies team has been researching and testing out different curriculums that promote anti-racism, identity, equity, and inclusion. The hope is that we can introduce these lessons in Social Studies class, but make an effort to integrate them in all disciplines.
  • Students will have the opportunity to “go” on guided virtual field trips to locations that celebrate and honor Black History.
  • And more!
St. James School is a faith-based Philadelphia middle school in the Episcopal tradition, committed to educating students from an under-resourced neighborhood within a nurturing environment. The school is a community that provides a challenging academic program and encourages the development of the moral, spiritual, intellectual, physical and creative gifts in its students.
St. James School | 215-226-1276 | www.StJamesPhila.org